Anthropology: Biological Anthropology, BA

Anthropology is the global social science. It is the study of the human condition everywhere; its cultural, linguistic, and biological diversity; and how it evolved and developed from the prehistoric past into the globalizing present. Anthropology is an interdisciplinary 14 credit major that intersects with programs and departments across the University. Students may major in anthropology as a whole (General Anthropology), or choose to concentrate in Biological Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology, or specialize in two thematic concentrations: Medical Anthropology and Environmental Anthropology.

Biological Anthropology is the study of human evolution and the biology of modern populations. Areas of study include genetics, osteology, and forensics. Students have the opportunity to work in laboratory settings, as well as in the Penn Museum’s Physical Anthropology section or its Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials (CAAM). Biological Anthropology majors take introductory courses in all sub-fields of Anthropology, and complete the remainder of their coursework primarily in Biological Anthropology.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 34. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Block I: Introductory Courses
ANTH 0050Great Transformations1
or ANTH 1480 Food and Fire: Archaeology in the Laboratory
ANTH 0020Anthropology, Race, and the Making of the Modern World1
or ANTH 0040 The Modern World and Its Cultural Background
ANTH 0030Human Origins, Evolution and Diversity1
Block II
Select 1 course unit in Archaeology:1
Select 1 course unit in Cultural and Linguistic Anthropology:1
Block III
ANTH 1430Explorations in Human Biology1
ANTH 2440Disease and Human Evolution1
Select 1 course unit in Biological Anthropology: 26
Select 2 course units in Anthropology
Attribute AAAR - Archaeology; Attribute AACL - Cultural and Linguistic; Attribute AABI - Biological Anthropology; Attribute AAEA - Environmental Anthropology; Attribute AAMA - Medical Anthropology
Select 3 Anthropology or Anthropology-related courses in another department 2
Capstone Seminar
ANTH 4000Research Seminar in Anthropology1
Total Course Units34

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Up to three courses from NRSC, BIOL, HSSC and PSYC may be requested. All non-ANTH courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Program Chair.


Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the Major and write a senior thesis.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.